The Fatima Centenary
This year, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children at Fatima. The 13th of each month from May to October, the actual anniversaries of the apparitions, are special days to honor Our Lady and obtain a plenary indulgence.
How are we observing this special year? One thing we are doing is reading a book written by Sister Lucia, the one of the shepherd children who grew up and became a Carmelite nun. She wrote “Calls” from the Message of Fatima to answer the many questions she was asked about the meaning of the apparitions. Here we would like to share with you a passage from the Sixth Call, “The Call to Prayer,” because it shows so beautifully what our life is like in the monastery, while also being applicable to life in the world.
Sanctifying our Work
Sister Lucia writes:
In carrying out our everyday tasks, we must endeavour to be aware of God’s presence: call to mind that God and our Angel Guardian are close to us, see what we are doing, and in what frame of mind we are doing it. Hence, we must sanctify our work, our rest, our meals, our wholesome entertainments, as if they were an on-going prayer. Knowing that God is present, it is enough to call Him to mind and from time to time say a few words to Him: whether of love — I love you, Lord! — or of thanksgiving — Thank you, Lord for all your benefits—, or of petition — Lord, help me to be faithful to You; forgive me my sins, my ingratitude, my coldness, my failure to understand, my backsliding — or of praise — I bless you , Lord, for your greatness, for your goodness, for your wisdom, for your power, for your mercy, for your justice, for your love. This intimate and familiar converse with God transforms our work and our daily occupations into a true and abiding life of prayer, making us more pleasing to God and bringing down upon us extra special graces and blessings. (“Calls” from the Message of Fatima, p. 95.)
This prayer of being mindful of God and speaking with Him while we work is an integral part of our life in the monastery. We spend a good deal of time in formal prayer, either at Mass or singing the Psalms in the Divine Office or praying the Rosary or adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, but we also spend a good deal of time going about our household tasks that keep the monastery running every day. During this time, too, we are united to God. Yet this form of prayer Sister Lucia describes is not for monks and nuns only, but for people in every walk of life as they go about the duties of their daily life at home, school, or work.
May this anniversary inspire us to give ourselves more completely to Jesus through Mary in the ordinary events of daily life, and offer God the sacrifice of our daily duty out of love for Him and in reparation for sin.